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Council puts the dead online

Published: 7:53PM Sunday September 02, 2007 Source: ONE News

An online cemetery is proving a valuable tool for New Zealanders keen to trace their family history.

Timaru District Council has put thousands of images on its website after laboriously taking 35,500 photos of headstones.

Council spokesman Bill Steans says the council took the photos from six cemeteries and loaded every single headstone onto their website.

He says the site helps relatives find graves, whether they are local or living overseas, and is also used for paying respects.

Don Hutton has been researching genealogy for years and says the internet has been probably the greatest new development for people researching their roots.

"It's become very, very valuable in terms of being able to piece together my roots," Hutton says.

Genealogy online is increasing by the day but with the information available and the huge number of photographs Timaru's site is the most comprehensive site of its kind in New Zealand.

"We've certainly had hits from round the country and round the world, and good feedback from those places also," Steans says.